On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced through Twitter that transgender people will no longer be able to serve in the United States military "in any capacity." It was an unprecedented decision that has rightfully angered civilians and military personnel across the country and around the globe. Here are how some veterans and service members responded to Trump's trans military ban on social media. They criticize Trump for making a decision that's both discriminatory and harmful while never having served in the military himself.
Trump explained in three tweets that, after allegedly consulting "my generals and military experts," the country will not "accept or allow" transgender people to enlist or serve, BuzzFeed reported. The president claimed he made the decision because the "military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory." According to the New York Times, Trump said the U.S. government could not be "burdened" by the costs of medically-necessary health care for transgender service members. He also said trans soldiers were a "distraction."
Trans and cisgender military personnel took to Twitter to condemn the president and his ban. Many pointed out that Trump dodged the draft during the Vietnam War — five times, in fact, according to the New York Times.
Trump's ban came nearly two weeks after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives defeated a defense spending bill amendment that would have prohibited the U.S. military from covering the costs of gender-affirming care, according to ThinkProgress. The government began to cover gender-affirming care last year, after former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter changed military policy to allow transgender people to serve openly, according to CNN. Trump's announcement reverses that policy change.
The assertion that transgender service members would be a cost "burden" is based on false information. According to Refinery29, a study published by research nonprofit, the RAND Corporation found that gender-affirming care would only increase health care expenditure by about 0.04 percent, to 0.13 percent; the overall cost would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually. Contrast that to how much the Department of Defense spends on Viagra alone — $41.6 million a year, according to the Washington Post.
The president's discriminatory policy is already seeing pushback in Congress. According to HuffPost, Democratic Rep. Scott Peters of California filed an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would overturn Trump's ban on transgender service members.
What will come of the ban remains to be seen. The Department of Defense has yet to issue guidance regarding the policy change, and has referred all questions to the White House. Still, as it stands, this ban is nothing short of a knee-jerk and grossly political ban that puts thousands upon thousands of transgender service members in danger.